October 26, 2009

Monday Morning QB: Auburn at LSU

LSU 31 Auburn 10

Welcome to the seventh edition of AuburnSports.com's latest feature, Monday Morning Quarterback, where each week several former Auburn players give their thoughts and opinions on the Tigers' latest game.

Grab your coffee, pull up a seat, sit back and read all about what they think and thought about Auburn. The former players give their input, insight and opinion of the Tigers' 31-10 loss at LSU, the current status of their former positions and more.

For objectivity purposes - we want the former players to be honest, good or bad, with their assessments - the ones that wish will remain anonymous.


Former Auburn quarterback Ben Leard:
Thoughts on the loss…
"I said it in my prediction Friday, and as much as it pains me to say it, I kind of saw it coming. And I don't like to say that. I don't like to be the one to say 'I called it' because that is just ultimate pessimism. But from top to bottom, there are really only two words to sum up anything about the game and those two words are 'not good'. The defense was sketchy, whether they were giving up a big play or getting a pass-interference penalty to set LSU up. There were times where I thought we were right on the brink, we were about to get in it, and then we'd do something to give them a first down or give up a big play.

"On the flip side of that, the defense might come up with a big third-down stop like late in the first half. With 1:42 left in the first half, we were down by 14 and the defense forces LSU to punt. I'm thinking, 'We can take this down and score'…well, we fumbled the danged punt and LSU gets the ball back. We continuously shot ourselves in the foot. It was very -and I watched every second of it- it was very hard to watch, and I watched every second of it merely because of the support I have for those kids."

On Chris Todd's performance (8-of-14, 47 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)…
"I think it was a culmination of a lot of things. You can look at some of the plays that were and were not made. There was a throw across the middle of the field (to Emory Blake) and it was dropped. It would have been a spectacular catch, but it's still a drop. That was probably one of Chris' better throws of the night. You can also go back and look at his interception. Regardless of how good of a play that defender made to intercept it, Chris even throwing that ball was a bad decision. That was double-coverage and most likely if the first guy hadn't picked it off, the second one would have or either made a play on it."

On the pressure from the LSU defense…
"I don't know if people recognized this, but there were situations where Chris Todd did not get protected at all. As a quarterback, if you are at the line of scrimmage and you take the snap and you are thinking, that you are under the assumption, that your protection is accounting for everybody that is coming, that if you know your protections so well that you know there is a hat on a hat, then you aren't concerned with anyone coming free. You don't have that extra fast-forward in your mind to know you have to get rid of the football. Against LSU, there was not an instance where Chris Todd missed a hot read. There was not a situation where Chris Todd held the ball too long because he knew somebody was going to come free.

"The two situations that I can sit here and think of, and both of them involved (Harry) Coleman the outside linebacker for LSU, he was not blocked at all. He should have been blocked, but he was just flat-out missed, once by Lee Ziemba and the other by Onterio McCalebb. And as a former quarterback, I've got to side with No. 12 there and I'll take that as far as I have to go. If I'm taking the snap and I think 73 (Ziemba) is going to block 24 (Coleman), I'm taking that to the bank. That is a mismatch all day long, at least it should be. But hello, he makes Ziemba look like a true freshman and runs around him and causes a fumble. They get the ball, score and go up 14-0. A little later in the game, we run a fake end-around to Onterio McCalebb, who was coming in that zip-motion, well, Onterio throws a no-hitter. He basically gave Chris a 'look-out' block. Coleman comes through and makes a play on Chris there.

"I will probably get in trouble for calling her out like this- but I'm sitting here watching the game with my wife and she's saying 'Goodness. Chris has got to get rid of the ball.' And I said, 'Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. C'mon now. You're my wife and all and I love you, but I've got to side with 12.' That's not his fault. He thinks that guy is blocked. He thinks that the protection is the proper protection and he should have time to go through his progressions and reads. The quarterback knows that guy should be blocked, but what's happening is somebody is flat-out getting beat or someone is making a mental error at the line of scrimmage......

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